I posted last summer on standing desks after I got a variable height one (so I can work standing or sitting), and in recent weeks have seen some additional information on the subject I thought might be of of interest to lawyers looking at making the switch.
ReadWrite article - Julia Gifford
In the article above, Gifford goes through some recent analysis of the use of standing tables, which she claims have become the mark of a "hip" office, but which have also been the subject of something of a recent backlash.
The reason I mention the article is that she provided a study by a startup incubator in Latvia (seriously, Latvia. When did I ever think I'd use that word in a sentence?) tracking time and productivity using standing desks. The Latvians found (oh, those zany Latvians) that:
- standing led to up to 10% more productivity
- standing promoted focus/concentration on the completion of tasks
- standing seemed to be a hindrance to tasks that required a creative approach as compared to sitting
- standing promoted higher energy levels, specifically including avoiding the 3 o'clock slump and the dreaded food coma (yes, there is such a thing outside of Thanksgiving dinner).
- standing helped employees have fewer headaches
- standing did not result in weight loss (at least not during the one week study period)
The study didn't attempt to address the claimed potential health issues of standup desks. Nor was there any attempt to identify whether these findings were specific to Latvians or depended disproportionately on Latvian characteristics (whatever those might be). Accordingly, I offer mine.
In my seven months of use, I can vouch for the two test results bolded above – that use of the standing desk seems to have helped me be more productive, and has helped me focus on the completion of tasks. I tend to disagree that standing is a hindrance to tasks that require a creative approach, as I can pace now while reading or dictating, even when doing something arguably creative, but I suspect that is a individual tendency. I particularly like being able to turn back and forth from my monitors at the standup desk to my iPad at my old architect's desk, which has my to do list open most of the day (the RTM desktop leaves much to be desired, unfortunately). And that does help me get through the afternoon slump when it comes.
Disappointingly, I have to agree that the standing desk doesn't seem to promote weight loss, although it conceivably could be blocking weight gain I suppose. The one thing I do have to note is that if you are going to stand most of the day, as I now do, you have to get comfortable shoes to accommodate it. You can't stand all day in your courtroom shoes. Silicon Valley workers may not have to take that into consideration, but lawyers often do. So I rely more on Rockports and Timberlands than I did previously. No oxfords or even loafers. It makes an enormous difference.